As I've noted before, China fiercely opposes any outside interference in its "internal affairs", yet it never seems to have a problem telling other countries what to do.
Examples include its insistent demands that Japan stop honoring war criminals at Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, and reject a new history textbook that glosses over atrocities committed by Japanese troops in China. According to China, Japan's choice of textbooks for its own schoolchildren simply isn't an internal affair.
But the irony doesn't stop there. Now, in demanding that Japan renounce its former aggression, Chinese are turning to violence. ABC News reports:
BEIJING Apr 9, 2005 — About 1,000 protesters threw rocks and broke windows at the Japanese Embassy on Saturday after a noisy march by demanding a boycott of Japanese goods to oppose new textbooks that critics say gloss over Tokyo's wartime atrocities.Reuters reports that Japanese businesses were attacked, too:
Protesters shouted "Boycott Japan!" as hundreds of police, some with riot helmets and shields, formed a human wall to keep the crowd away from the embassy. Protesters smashed the windows of a guardhouse outside the fenced compound.
One group began throwing bottles and stones when they passed a Japanese restaurant, smashing windows with tiles they had ripped from its roof before police stopped them. A second restaurant was targeted later in the evening, with rocks thrown through the window, terrifying kimono-clad waitresses.And last Saturday, Chinese mobs attacked a Japanese-owned supermarket in Chengdu, smashing its windows. The threat has become so severe that Japanese companies like Honda are reducing business travel to China due to safety concerns.
...Protesters also attacked a Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi branch and smashed windows before police moved in.
Because mass public protests are generally not permitted in China, these riots are occurring with at least the tacit approval, if not the direct encouragement, of the Chinese government, which is eager to portray Japan as unworthy of a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. As the BBC reports:
Shanghai's daily Wenhui Bao warns that the dispute may jeopardize Japan's chances of a much-coveted seat on the UN Security Council.Meanwhile, even as individual Chinese are goaded into attacking Japanese targets, China itself is threatening Taiwan. It recently passed a belligerent new "Anti-Secession Law" that authorizes the use of military force to stop Taiwan from declaring formal independence.
"How can a country which not only cannot correctly handle history, but falsifies history again and again, have the qualifications to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international community?"
There's no doubt that Japanese soldiers committed shocking, widespread atrocities in China over sixty years ago. Japan's history textbooks should not ignore that fact.
But it's more than a little ironic to see China, which habitually censors and distorts the news through its state-run media, suddenly championing the importance of factual accuracy. In light of its own current inclinations to violence, China's criticism of Japan looks like a clear-cut case of projection.